These stories are a combination of inspirational, insightful and at times sorrowful prose by undocumented immigrant youth. These students experienced everything from crushing poverty to the success of becoming valedictorians of their high schools and, for very few, graduating college.
These are future doctors, lawyers, nurses, engineers in training. They are as American as you and me and are desperately fighting to stop being treated as second class citizens in the only country they know as home. These are the stories of students who embody the very concept of the American Dream.
*Please the note the names of our Arizona Dreamers have been changed to protect their privacy.
My Education, No One Can Take Away
Vero recounts how even a high school counselor, someone meant to encourage students about their education, can pose motivational challenges in a pursuit of education.
Running in the Shadows
Carl introduces us to the society of the shadows. His family was defrauded by a lawyer as they tried to adjust their visas. Despite his situation, he shares how he focuses on his education.
Emma discusses how her family takes flight away from a domestic violence situation to the land of the free. Like many undocumented students, Emma discovers during her senior year how she is held back by her status. Through her positive spirit, she finds the energy to take flight forward onto a college education.
High School Graduate
Jack struggles with an emotional roller coaster that he is able to channel into positive energy as he seeks a higher education. As a recent high school graduate he is aware the uncertainty his future holds and holds hopeful on his path to college.
Hope in my Heart
Emily vividly remembers her humble beginning and the struggle to learn a new language. After many challenges, Emily has completed her first year in college and hopes to continue on with her degree.
Media & Me
Olivia describes her tough journey to the land of opportunity. She questioned her ability to go to college early in her high school career. Inspired by supportive educators, she shares her journey in trying to make the dream a reality.
Alex had the opportunity to attend a private high school. The experience was bittersweet as he learned of the disparity between other students and students in his situation. At the same time, his high school provided the best academic and rigorous classes that best prepared him as a Mechanical Engineering student at ASU.
Mark speaks on all the hours he spent working to help his single-parent family home and dedicated to his studies and other extracurricular activities. Although he has managed to complete a year in college and he has proven himself as a strong academic and hard-worker, his future is uncertain due to the economic situation at home and a lack of scholarship funding.
With extreme economic hardship, it is a challenge for undocumented families to support their kids in higher education. For Michael, his relationship with his father was strained and eventually cut because of the lack of support for Michael’s education as an undocumented student.
Admission & Enrollment Pains
With confusing and changing policies and the high costs of tuition, Anthony discusses his struggle to complete his higher education.
Mia has stepped forward and shared her story with many in attaining a college education. As she nears graduation, she is nervous about the limited opportunities she must face.
William knows the challenges of learning a new language and acting as a translator for his family as many undocumented youth also do. His mastery of both languages taught him important lessons in learning. Today, he has earned his way to a college degree.
Jacob takes the path to higher education and describes his frustration and anxiety upon college graduation.
Isabella sheds light on lost opportunities growing up undocumented in America. She yearns to put her education and degree into practice in the US and looks forward to the day she will.
Despite the challenges, Jay is among small number of undocumented students manage to continue on to professional and graduate school. With humility and pride, he shares his journey.